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FILM FACTS: 10 Things to Know About ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’

Uncover fascinating behind-the-scenes facts about the much-awaited 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'. Discover insights about the captivating storyline, star-studded cast, stunning locations, impressive visual effects, and the recreation of historical events.

The legendary hero is strapping on his whip and fedora for one last adventure in the eagerly anticipated installment, ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’. We’re itching to share some tidbits about the movie, so let’s whip this into shape, shall we?

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

1. An Unforgettable Hero

There’s no denying it – Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic characters ever to grace the silver screen. Ranked as the second greatest movie hero of all time by the American Film Institute (only Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” pipped him to the post), Indy’s character has been etched deeply into the cultural consciousness. However, it’s hard to imagine that Indiana Jones would’ve had the same lasting impression without Harrison Ford donning the battered brown fedora.

From the moment he first appeared on screen in Steven Spielberg’s 1981 blockbuster, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ it was evident that Ford was the perfect fit for the character. With his ruggedly handsome looks and rough-around-the-edges charm, Ford brought a unique charisma to Indy that is, to this day, endearingly captivating. His knack for flashing a knowing smirk at just the right moment, combined with the character’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and a dose of luck, always managed to get Indy out of seemingly impossible situations.

Now, ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ will see Ford reprising his iconic role for one last thrilling adventure. The film, already steeped in anticipation, is set to be a testament to the enduring legacy of Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford’s indelible portrayal of the hero. So, as we prepare to say farewell to Ford as Indy, let’s get ready for a rip-roaring cinematic journey, reminding us why we fell in love with this character in the first place. Now, how’s that for a piece of our hearts?

2. A Fresh Vision at the Helm

“Ford v Ferrari” and “Logan” director, James Mangold, steps into the directorial boots for the latest installment in the Indiana Jones series. With his proven ability to craft complex, compelling characters, Mangold offers a rejuvenating perspective on the iconic franchise. Mangold’s expertise in crafting stories about intriguing, conflicted characters—coupled with a deep understanding of the Indiana Jones series—has the team from Harrison Ford to Steven Spielberg fully onboard with this transition. Despite initial reservations, Mangold agreed to direct the final Indy adventure, committing to preserve the surprising and human complexities of the iconic character. This new venture under Mangold’s directorial prowess promises an Indiana Jones adventure that’s set to exceed expectations.

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Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

3. The Archimedes Dial: An Inspired Artifact

The sought-after treasure that propels “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is the Archimedes Dial. This centerpiece of intrigue and adventure is inspired by a real-world artifact, the Antikythera mechanism. This ancient Greek device, often referred to as the oldest known analog computer, was used to calculate and display information about astronomical phenomena. Director James Mangold explains the connection, saying, “The moment I knew the movie was about time, opportunities missed, opportunities lost, choices made, irrevocable mistakes, then the question [became], ‘What would be the only thing that would allow me to fix time itself?’” The answer: The Antikythera, rumored to be an invention by Archimedes, speculated to be a sort of time compass.

While the team took creative liberties to imbue the Archimedes Dial with a touch of movie magic, it still represents a shift in the franchise. Harrison Ford appreciates this fresh take, noting that while previous films often used artifacts with religious connotations—such as the Sankara Stones, the Holy Grail, and the Ark of the Covenant—the Dial “was fooling with the nature of science,” offering a new thematic layer to the adventurous saga.

4. Star-Studded Ensemble

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” flaunts a constellation of talent. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a three-time Emmy® Award-winning actress famed for “Fleabag,” takes on the role of Helena Shaw. Known for her fierce independence, Helena engages audiences with her wittiness, qualities which Director Mangold sees as reminiscent of golden age Hollywood stars like Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck. Waller-Bridge’s warmth, humanity, and comedic prowess have earned her high praise from co-star Harrison Ford.

(L-R): Doctor Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen, standing), Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The villainous Jürgen Voller is portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, renowned for his work in “Another Round” and “Hannibal.” Mikkelsen’s performance breaks away from cliché villainous characterizations, bringing to life a pragmatic scientist who assimilates into American society. Ford extols Mikkelsen’s dedication and energy in his role.

The ensemble is further enriched with performances by Boyd Holbrook, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, and newcomer Ethann Isidore. Holbrook personifies Klaber, Voller’s henchman, while Banderas embodies Renaldo, Indy’s reliable friend. Rhys-Davies revives his classic role as Sallah, and young French actor Isidore makes his debut as Teddy, Helena’s resourceful associate.

Toby Jones also stars as Basil Shaw, an Oxford archaeologist and one of Indy’s oldest friends. Together, this diverse cast guarantees an unforgettable final chapter in the Indiana Jones saga.

5. Exemplary Production and Global Filming

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” boasts an impressive production. Filmed in various global locations including Morocco, Sicily, Scotland, and England, the movie also utilizes the stages at Pinewood Studios in London. Director James Mangold assembled a stellar creative team that included production designer Adam Stockhausen, director of photography Phedon Papamichael, costume designer Joanna Johnston, special effects supervisor Alistair Williams, and visual effects supervisor Andrew Whitehurst.

Klaber (Boyd Holbrook) in Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Together, this group conceived breathtaking visuals and adrenaline-pumping action sequences, crafting memorable scenes like the 1944 train sequence, a horseback chase through a New York ticker tape parade, a thrilling tuk-tuk chase through Tangier’s streets, an intense underwater dive in Greece, and the movie’s grand climactic sequence.

(L-R): Basil (Toby Jones), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Doctor Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The production’s emphasis on practical sets and actual locations was instrumental in maintaining the authentic feel of an Indiana Jones film. According to Harrison Ford, capturing the “different culture” and “different feeling” of these places was essential to the movie’s experience.

(Clockwise from right): Colonel Weber (Thomas Kretschmann) and Doctor Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Oscar® winner Adam Stockhausen, known for his collaborations with Wes Anderson and Steven Spielberg, shared similar sentiments. He believes that being physically present in a location brings an authenticity that can’t be replicated. Nevertheless, Stockhausen managed to parallel the grandeur of real-world locations with meticulously detailed sets at Pinewood. The dynamic opening sequence – a perfect blend of locations such as Bamburgh Castle and North Yorkshire Moors Railway station and Stockhausen’s inventive designs – sees a young Indy attempting to rescue his friend from Nazi captors aboard a moving train. Inspired by archival photos, Stockhausen created an authentic wartime train complete with the treasure carriage containing replicas of significant art pieces and antiquities looted by the Nazis, such as the Lance of Longinus (or the Spear of Destiny) and the Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire. This commitment to immersive production design underscores the film’s breathtaking visuals, making it a truly memorable addition to the Indiana Jones series.

6. Ingenious De-Aging Techniques

One of the most ambitious aspects of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” involved a meticulous de-aging process to make Harrison Ford, then 79 years old, appear as a 37-year-old Indiana Jones. This was accomplished by employing cutting-edge face replacement technology (ILM FaceSwap), which captured Ford’s on-set performance and mapped it onto a digital version of his younger self.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The ILM team used Lucasfilm’s extensive archive of Harrison Ford’s previous Indiana Jones films to ensure the final result was convincingly youthful. Mangold praised the technology for preserving the soul of Ford’s performance, the advanced system allowed him to review a younger version of Harrison Ford only days after wrapping up the shooting of each sequence. The successful use of de-aging technology is a significant highlight of the film’s production.

7. Re-creating the Apollo 11 Parade

To celebrate the Apollo 11 mission, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” features a sequence set during the August 1969 parade in Manhattan. This monumental task was brought to life in Glasgow, Scotland, which doubled for Manhattan.

Production designer Adam Stockhausen and action vehicles supervisor Alex King looked at period footage and photographs for inspiration on how to dress the streets and the vehicles. One such addition was a re-creation of the 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton that carried the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The production team spent three weeks preparing St. Vincent Street in Glasgow before closing it for seven days of shooting, which included up to 1,000 background actors. Director of photography Phedon Papamichael ensured the sequence was colorful and vibrant, contrasting the 1944 prologue and indicating the changing world around Indiana Jones.

The sequence later transitions into a chase through Manhattan’s subway tunnels. For these scenes, a full-scale replica of a subway station was constructed on Pinewood’s 007 Stage, complete with authentic aging details. This contrast of locations and tones offered a rich visual variety that is a trademark of the Indiana Jones franchise.

8. Iconic Props Revisited

The iconic fedora and whip are back! These quintessential Indy props make a return, completing our hero’s adventurous look. Costume designer Joanna Johnston, guided by director James Mangold’s vision for a gritty realism, carefully crafted the characters’ wardrobes. Johnston aimed to honor the legacy of her former mentor, the renowned costume designer Anthony Powell, with whom she had previously collaborated on Indiana Jones films.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

When it came to Indy’s attire, Johnston stayed true to the established wardrobe, ensuring that the fedora and leather jacket remained non-negotiable elements. When Harrison Ford stepped back into the costume, it was as if he had never left the role. The seamless transition back into Indy’s signature look was a testament to the enduring nature of the character.

In addition to Indy’s ensemble, Johnston created complementary costumes for other key characters, such as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena and Mads Mikkelsen’s Voller. For Helena, practicality and a touch of flair were key components, with jackets, trousers, and a hint of masculine influence. Waller-Bridge expressed her love for the character’s wardrobe, praising Johnston’s ability to convey Helena’s multifaceted personality through her clothes.

As for Voller, Mikkelsen’s character, Johnston and the actor deliberately avoided anything flashy, ensuring he wouldn’t stand out. Voller’s look, reminiscent of the 1940s despite being set in the 1960s, reinforces his connection to the past and aligns him with Indiana Jones as a man of his time.

With the return of these iconic props and the meticulous attention to detail in the costumes, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” not only captures the essence of the beloved franchise but also pays homage to the enduring legacy that has made Indy a cultural icon. Fans can look forward to experiencing the thrilling adventures of their favorite archaeologist once again, with the familiar props serving as a comforting reminder of the timeless magic of Indiana Jones.

9. The Maestro Returns

One remarkable aspect of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is the return of the legendary composer John Williams to score the final installment. Known as the maestro behind Indy’s iconic theme, Williams brings his unparalleled talent and musical genius to the franchise once again. His compositions have become synonymous with the Indiana Jones series, capturing the essence and excitement of the adventures on-screen. Producer Frank Marshall describes Williams’ music as the “special sauce” of the movie, as his themes are instantly recognizable and inseparable from the iconic character. Initially planning to write only a few themes, Williams ended up composing the entire score, showcasing his dedication and passion for the project. One standout piece is the theme for Helena, a character with a captivating and adventurous spirit, featuring the remarkable violin soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Williams’ traditional approach to composing, using pencil and notes, sets him apart from other contemporary composers, creating melodic themes that resonate deeply and enhance the overall cinematic experience.

10. The Visionary Duo Behind the Scenes

The iconic partnership of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the creative powerhouses behind the Indiana Jones franchise, takes center stage once again. Their involvement in this final film is a fitting homage to their groundbreaking work. Serving as executive producers, these legendary filmmakers brought the iconic character of Indiana Jones to life and revolutionized the world of adventure cinema. Their continued involvement in this film is a testament to their unparalleled creativity and their lasting impact on the franchise. Their presence behind the scenes ensures that the spirit and legacy of Indiana Jones are preserved in this thrilling conclusion.

Steven Spielberg attends the U.S Premiere of Lucasfilms’ Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, sponsored in part by Dolby, Swaine and Hamilton at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 (photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)
Harrison Ford and George Lucas attend the U.S Premiere of Lucasfilms’ Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, sponsored in part by Dolby, Swaine and Hamilton at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 (photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” offers a fresh take on the beloved franchise while honoring its rich history. It captures the essence of what has made Indiana Jones an enduring icon in the world of cinema, delivering an exciting and nostalgic experience that fans old and new will appreciate. Get ready to embark on a journey that combines the best of the past with the excitement of the present, as Indiana Jones once again showcases why he is one of the greatest adventurers of all time.

INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY is now showing in cinemas nationwide. Buy your tickets here.

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